The Governor’s Conference on Aging is coming up less than two weeks from now. John McCalley, head of the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs, says we’re growing old more gracefully than past generations. "Iowa is an aging state," McCalley says, "just like our country is an aging country." While people are living longer, he says the Older Americans Act helps organizations and agencies provide support and advocacy.
McCalley notes May is Older Americans Month, and as we find Iowans are living longer and healthier and more independently, his agency’s chosen the theme "The Journey of a Lifetime." McCalley says while we live longer and more enjoyable lives, Iowans have a new imperative to plan for those years that stretch ahead.
We need to encourage better planning, he says, and better community-based long-term care options and other supportive services, as well as more "consumer friendly" systems. One of the views behind his agency’s work is the expectation that people be helped to age while living as independently as they want, in their own communities. The agency’s website has links to information about the Conference on Aging, which is in West Des Moines May 20 and 21.